Alternative Ingredients When Baking

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What To Use When You’re Missing What a Recipe Calls For

In a pinch, use a pinch of another sugar

Baking is making a big comeback. From the bread gal (didn’t we all become her with the return of the home-raised sourdough?) to the cake designer to the everyday chocolate cookie girl. We love it all… except when you are halfway through the recipe, the dough is almost complete— and you realize you’re short on, or heaven forbid—out of—flour. Do you run to the store, do you toss, or do you open a cabinet and look for an alternative ingredient?

We’re here to help you salvage that dough and save the last minute grocery run when you’d rather be tying ribbons on your party favors. Here are a few tips and tricks to elevate your family favorite recipe when you don’t have alllll the ingredients. However, we recommend always using real butter because then there is no margarine for error ;)

Ingredients you may be missing… and what to sub them with:


If you’re out of eggs, use ¼ cup applesauce for every 1 egg.

As long as the eggs are not the main leavening agent (like angel food cake), then an apple sauce substitute works great.


Use applesauce instead of butter. Whether you’re short on butter or want to switch up the fat content a bit, try subbing in applesauce in a 1:1 ratio.

Baking Powder

Don’t have baking powder? Use other household staples instead: baking soda and vinegar. Ex: 1 tsp of baking powder = ¼ tsp baking soda and ½ tsp vinegar.


Vegan option: Use full-fat coconut milk (just know there will be a hint of coconut flavor). 

Non- Vegan option: 

  • Use milk and butter to replace the cream (stir ¼ cup melted butter into ¾ cup milk) 
  • Use 1:1 ratio for greek yogurt to cream (the thinner the yogurt the better to match the cream consistency) 


There are plenty of options to mix up your sweet additive here.

  • 1:1 ratio for brown sugar, raw sugar, coconut sugar 
  • ½ cup — 1 cup honey = 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup of maple syrup = 1 cup of sugar. Keep an eye on the liquid in the recipe though: For each 1 cup maple syrup added, lessen the amount of another liquid by 3 tablespoons. 
  • Need brown sugar but only have white? Use equal parts white sugar to brown sugar and add 1 tablespoon molasses per cup of sugar. Ex: 1 cup white sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses to = 1 cup brown sugar.


Use sour cream instead, and thin it out with milk or water. Ex: 1 cup buttermilk = ¾ cup sour cream + ¼ cup water or milk. We’re also big fans of using Greek yogurt anytime you would usually use sour cream.

Lemon Juice

Instead, use a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar.


Opt for a 1:1 ratio of corn syrup, maple syrup, or agave nectar. 

There will come a day where you don’t have all the ingredients for your favorite recipe. These small switches will be at your fingertips to save the day. Now turn up Taylor’s new album and get to baking cookies. Nothing to alternate there. 

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